Is this a riddle worth figuring out?
Title: Akuma no Riddle
TV Series; 13 Episodes
Genre: Action, School, Shoujo Ai
To be quite frank with all of you, I had my apprehensions going into this series. Diomedea is one of the studios I loathe most because of their involvement with the production of Campione. It’s ludicrous to think that so much money was thrown at creating self-absorbed fan-fiction. Also it was one of the last complete seasons I covered on this blog and played a large part in me getting burned out on weekly coverage. Basically every week I posted the same 450 word complaint about the series’ shortcomings. I could go on about how terrible that show was, but needless to say I was worried Akuma no Riddle was going to be cut from the same cloth as studio’s previous efforts. Doesn’t lesbian teenagers, assassins and spandex just scream bullshit-filler-fanservice?
The story follows Haru Ichinose who has been accepted into Class Black at the prestigious Myojou Academy. Little does she know that her twelve other classmates are there to assassinate her. Tokaku Azuma, the heir to the most prestigious assassin clan, has a change of heart after befriending her target. Deciding to protect Haru, each episode has the two battling against another classmate. While this does give the show a serialized nature, each episode doesn’t feel isolated because the “weekly bad guy” has been present in each of the previous outings.
What’s great about the villains is that none of them have been one dimensional, other than a serial killer that derives sexual satisfaction from torturing her victims. The show takes some time to delve into the back stories of each of the assassins. Some of these tales might be a bit sappy but are easy to connect to. I’m looking forward to seeing this trend continue moving forward as we get to the later baddies.
Another surprisingly strong aspect of the show is the music. The opening theme, Soushou Innocence by Maaya Uchida, is catchy rock track with female vocals. Where the soundtrack shines is the ending themes. Yes plural. There is a song for each villain and none of them disappoint. Each tune has strong instrumentation with lyrics that subtly flesh out the character they’re connected to.
To my delight, the show transcends whatever bias I had for it. Akuma no Riddle, while not perfect, is competent, and worth the watch. The interesting characters, fluid pacing, sharp writing and solid action are coming together quite nicely. A delightful surprise is that the Yuri elements in the show aren’t overbearing. So far they have been soft undertones that help move the plot along and develop the cast. A lot of shows would just use it as an excuse for fanservice, while present, happens within natural context. Overall, I’d give this show a watch if you’re in the market for strong action show.